Getting out and about across Scotland (and elsewhere of course) is a whole lot easier with a camper van. You have everything you need conveniently stowed – including the kitchen sink – and a roof to put over your head when the weather turns nasty. It’s camping in style and comfort, without the draughts, wet patches and leaky lilos.
We got Lydia from new just before Christmas 2010. She’s a VW California with a 180 horsepower bi-turbo diesel engine that can either ride along sedately or shift her 3 tonnes surprisingly quickly.
We’d talked for years – literally – about the idea of owing a camper van. We eyed other (van) campers enviously from our tent: “wouldn’t it be great to have a camper van, one day ?”. Well, “one day” always seemed too far off. It was never going to come. But over the years we started to get our heads around this major purchase. We dipped our toe in the water and hired a bright yellow early-70s Bay and took it up to Islay for a week. Being an absolute mechanical liability (more later) meant that we soon put romantic notions of original Bays out of our minds. We then viewed one of the many conversions and toyed with their various pros and cons. But when we actually saw a Cali in a showroom no conversion got anywhere near the build quality and design ingenuity of the VW.
A combination of factors finally made us come to our senses: some cash sitting in the savings account, a realisation that the kids would be grown up before we knew it and cancer taking my sister-in-law before her 50th birthday. “Life’s for living“, we said, and we never looked back.
So why’s called Lydia ? Well, all camper vans soon develop personalities. Being a modern twist on a retro model we wanted a modern-yet-traditional name. It’s a long story but the name “Lydia” was already top of our list of girl’s names and so Lydia she became.
So, a quick intro to Lydia for now … and much more later …